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Int J Infect Dis. 2017 Sep;62:77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2017.07.018. Epub 2017 Jul 26.

Febrile rhabdomyolysis of unknown origin in refugees coming from West Africa through the Mediterranean.

Author information

1
University Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia and Spedali Civili General Hospital, Brescia, Italy. Electronic address: silvia.odolini@gmail.com.
2
Centre for Tropical Diseases, Sacro Cuore-Don Calabria Hospital, Negrar, Verona, Italy.
3
Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica, Università di Firenze, Florence, Italy; SOD Malattie Infettive e Tropicali, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi, Florence, Italy.
4
Refugee Centre of Mineo, Catania, Italy.
5
Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive "Lazzaro Spallanzani", IRCCS, Rome, Italy.
6
Clinica di Malattie Infettive, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.
7
Infectious Diseases-IRCCS Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
8
Department of Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, Poliambulanza Hospital Clinical Institute, Brescia, Italy.
9
Division of Infectious Diseases, AO Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital, Milan, Italy.
10
Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
11
Infectious Diseases Unit, G.B. Rossi University Hospital, Verona, Italy.
12
University Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia and Spedali Civili General Hospital, Brescia, Italy.
13
Clinica di Medicina Interna, Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale del Garda, Manerbio (BS), Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Cases of undiagnosed severe febrile rhabdomyolysis in refugees coming from West Africa, mainly from Nigeria, has been observed since May 2014. The aim of this study was to describe this phenomenon.

METHODS:

This was a multicentre retrospective observational study of cases of febrile rhabdomyolysis reported from May 2014 to December 2016 in 12 Italian centres.

RESULTS:

A total of 48 cases were observed, mainly in young males. The mean time interval between the day of departure from Libya and symptom onset was 26.2 days. An average 8.3 further days elapsed before medical care was sought. All patients were hospitalized with fever and very intense muscle aches. Creatine phosphokinase, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase values were abnormal in all cases. The rhabdomyolysis was ascribed to an infective agent in 16 (33.3%) cases. In the remaining cases, the aetiology was undefined. Four out of seven patients tested had sickle cell trait. No alcohol abuse or drug intake was reported, apart from a single reported case of khat ingestion.

CONCLUSIONS:

The long incubation period does not support a mechanical cause of rhabdomyolysis. Furthermore, viral infections such as those caused by coxsackievirus are rarely associated with such a severe clinical presentation. It is hypothesized that other predisposing conditions like genetic factors, unknown infections, or unreported non-conventional remedies may be involved. Targeted surveillance of rhabdomyolysis cases is warranted.

KEYWORDS:

Creatine kinase; Fever; Nigeria; Refugees; Rhabdomyolysis; West Africa

PMID:
28756023
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijid.2017.07.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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